UN refrains from directly blaming Russia for Syria hospital attacks

AFP United Nations, United States Apr 07, 2020, 07.10 AM(IST)

File photo Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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In 2019, The New York Times published an exhaustive investigation, notably including recordings of Russian pilots, that directly incriminated Russia in attacks on hospitals in Syria.

A UN board of inquiry investigating attacks on civilian establishments in Syria, including hospitals, has refrained from directly holding Russia responsible, according to a summary of its report published Monday.

The coordinates of the sites had been communicated to the belligerents by the United Nations to protect them from air strikes.

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Without mentioning Russia, the investigation concluded that in four out of the seven cases studied by the board -- a school, a health center, a surgical hospital and a protection center -- "the government of Syria and/or its allies had carried out the airstrike."

In 2019, The New York Times published an exhaustive investigation, notably including recordings of Russian pilots, that directly incriminated Russia in attacks on hospitals in Syria.

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''The refusal to explicitly name Russia as a responsible party working alongside the Syrian government... is deeply disappointing," Human Rights Watch said after the summary was published.

The UN commission chose seven cases, but its investigators were unable to visit the sites because the Syrian government did not grant visas.

The cases included the Martyr Akram Ali Ibrahim Al-Ahmad school in Madiq Castle on April 2018, 2019, and the Rakaya Sijneh health center on May 3.

There were no victims in either case. The report said it was highly likely the raids were conducted by Syria or its allies.

The commission also looked at the Kafr Nabutha health center (May 7), which had no victims and was also likely conducted by Syria and its allies.